RV2 had it under control once the main event began.
Mike Fisher, your team manager, has told me there have been races where practice or the heat race weren’t great, but you figured something out along the way, maybe a new line or obstacle on the track, and once you had it dialed in for the main event you knew you could win. Did you get to that point? Did you go to the line in the main thinking you had the speed you didn’t have in the heat?
You know, the track was really tough tonight. Everyone knows there was a lot of rain here, so the track was soft. Then it got dark, and the moisture really started coming up out of the ground. The track deteriorated really quick because of all the moisture. It was a lot different as the night went on. Overall it was good, though.
So you get the start and you’re out front. Did you think you could win it, or were you getting nervous?
I knew the times were so close in practice, that I knew, even if I wasn’t the fastest in practice, that I had good laps in me. And I knew with the training I had done in the off-season that 20 laps is no problem. I mean, it’s different during a race, and it was. I could see I had four or five seconds on him (Dungey) and then I hit lappers, and he closed in a little bit. So I turned it back up a little bit and got the gap back, and by then it was already lap 15. Then I just backed it down a little bit.
Looks like the bike gets the job done....
In opening ceremonies, they showed a clip of your St. Louis crash, and then some shots of those gnarly x-rays. Did you really think, really, that in your very first race back from all of that, you could win?
Yeah, you know I wanted all the fans to see what happened. I knew what I had went through, and I know a lot of people in the sport knew. But I’m sure a lot of the fans had no idea. And that was just a small glimpse of what I went through. It was bad. So tonight, I was just shaking the cobwebs out. I would have been fine with a podium tonight. But it’s even better to have a win.
Last year it took a few races to get going.
Yeah I’ve never won Anaheim 1 before.
So, do you think you can be better?
Oh, it’s going to get better. Like I said, I just needed to shake those cobwebs out before I really start turning it up.
Monster Energy Kawasaki has worked hard to lighten their bikes for 2011, just to make sure they grab some more heavy metal on the podium.